Todd Mills, creator of the Doritos Locos Taco, one of the most successful fast food creations in history, died on Thanksgiving from brain cancer at the age of 41. He never made a cent on the idea.
Mills, a resident of Little Rock, Arkansas, first pitched Plano-based Frito-Lay with the idea in 2009, but his letter was rejected. Determined to see his dream taco a become a reality, he started the Taco Shells made from Doritos Movement, a Facebook devoted to marrying flourescent orange seasoning powder with Taco Bell's crunchy taco shells.
In 2012, Mills received a call from Taco Bell executives, who flew him out to their test kitchen in California to sample the first Doritos Locos Taco. Ten weeks later, Taco Bell reportedly sold 100 million of the tacos. A year and a half later, the Huffington Post now reports $1 billion in sales.
While Mills received no formal compensation, Taco Bell contributed $1,000 toward his medical expenses, according to the LA Times. But that was only after a family member reached out to the company over Twitter.